By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”PRESIDENT Umaru Yar’Adua has been urged to appoint militant leaders as Henry Okah, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, â€œâ€œGeneralâ€â€ Boyloaf and Ateke Tom as Special Advisers on Security Affairs (Waterways) or prevail on the governors of the Niger-Delta states to appoint them into the position in their respective states.
Co-ordinator of the Niger-Delta Re-Orientation Project, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, who made the call in a press statement in Warri, specifically urged Okah â€œâ€œto explore every opportunity to support and assist the federal and the Niger Delta state governors to create a conducive atmosphere for peace and salvage our deteriorating environmental effects as a result of seeking his releaseâ€
â€œWe want to really appreciate and thank Mr. President for his proactive step towards the proclamation of the long expected amnesty and the unconditional release of Henry Okah, leader of the most vibrant group, MEND in the Niger Delta.
â€œThis shows the sincerity of President Umaru Yarâ€™â€™Adua/Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s administration and its determination towards resolving the lingering crisis in the region.
â€œThe amnesty offer to the militants is a welcome development; we urge all militants in the region to embrace the kind gesture from the presidency , but we are a bit skeptical and want to strongly advise and caution the presidency to be extremely careful for some unscrupulous elements not to infiltrate or hide under the packageâ€, he said.
According to him, â€œit has become necessary to state that this amnesty package shouldnâ€™t be another dubious and malicious virus being injected and introduced into the region to suppress the genuine agitation of the people that was hijacked by all manner of people because, if the intention is to lobby and buy a group of persons with N50 billion or any monetary amount, then itâ€™s a very wrong approach towards ending and resolving the lingering crisisâ€.
â€œI say this because I know that if the said amount is invested in the provision of roads, bridges, health care services etc, it will impact on more lives. How many times will the presidency offer amnesty?
â€œWhat is the total amount for development in the region? What is the hope for the non-violent youths? The amnesty offer shouldnâ€™t be another hypocrisy of the highest order
â€œWe, therefore, want to reiterate our call to the federal, state, local government areas and their agencies to strategize and adopt pragmatic measures in carrying out massive development in the region rather than discussing on a daily basis how to resolve the crises.
â€œWe also seize this medium to advise and strongly appeal to our indefatigable president to please withdraw the heavy presence of the military in the creeks of the Niger Delta, especially in Gbaramatu Kingdom.â€